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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quarantine.

Topics

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like he is a little sensitive about the fact that the leader of the NDP has replaced him.

Canadians know that the Prime Minister cannot be believed, but the NDP is always the last to know. Too bad it was only after it struck a deal that the NDP realized the Liberals are sleazier than it thought.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal team even double-crossed the finance minister. If his own colleagues cannot trust the Prime Minister, then why should Canadians?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on February 23 the Leader of the Opposition indicated clearly and categorically that there was no reason to oppose the federal budget or defeat the government. Then later in April the Leader of the Opposition flip-flopped. He changed his position 180 degrees. Hand in hand with the separatists, he vowed to defeat the government and the budget at every turn. That is a huge betrayal of Canadians.

I ask the finance critic for the opposition, when will he do the right thing and resign?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, how sad. The finance minister has been fired and he does not even know it.

Canadians know that the Prime Minister just cannot be believed on the budget. Back in February he told us the cupboard was bare. When his job is on the line, all of a sudden he finds $5 billion. It sounds like he was not really giving us the true story.

When will the Prime Minister just admit that he has not been telling Canadians the truth?

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman will find the space written specifically in the budget plan. I think it is page 285.

Since we balanced the books in 1997, we have had the best debt to GDP ratio in all the G-7. We have had the best job creation record in all the G-7. We have had the fastest growth in living standards in all the G-7. We have had the only balanced budgets in all the G-7. We have the best fiscal performance since 1867. That is a record I would be prepared to run on.

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

The BudgetOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

That is all for that question. Moving on to the next, the hon. member for Repentigny.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jacques Corriveau is a personal friend of Jean Chrétien. He was on the policy and campaign organizing committees of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party; Liberal organizer; bag man; sign maker; francophone vice-president of the Liberal Party; vice-president of the LPC, Quebec wing; and finally, lobbyist for the Liberal Party.

How, then, can the Prime Minister continue to justify himself by maintaining that the Liberal dirty money scandal was the action of a small parallel group, when Corriveau's involvement puts it right at the core of the Liberal Party?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry. I did not hear. The hon. member for Repentigny.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, he is refusing to answer. Silence denotes consent. Corriveau provided the money. Corriveau drew up the list of projects that would get sponsorships. He was also the one who created the 10% commission system for Groupaction sponsorships.

How can the government still refuse to put that dirty sponsorship money into a trust account, when we know that the dirty money was nothing more than a kickback system providing crooked funding for the Liberal Party of Canada?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again the party has been clear. The Prime Minister and the government has been clear. If in fact the party has received funds from inappropriate sources, those funds will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. That cannot be done without having all the facts. That is why it is very important that Justice Gomery be allowed to complete his work. The party will respond appropriately to that work.

Let us be clear. What we are doing here with the work of Justice Gomery is changing the culture of government. If we are to change the culture of government, it is worth the short term pain. I would urge all members of the House to support the efforts of the government and support Justice Gomery to change the culture of government.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, what needs changing is not the culture of government but the government itself. Guy Bisson, Jacques Roy, Louis Pichette and Franco Iacono, all of whom worked on election campaigns, deep in the Liberal Party's organization, have admitted to having been paid with sponsorship money.

I would like the Prime Minister to tell me what more he needs? Individuals have admitted to having been paid with sponsorship money. Does the Liberal Party not call that dirty money?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, these are unsubstantiated allegations among many others. For instance, it has been alleged that the Parti Québécois received money inappropriately. Does the Bloc agree with this statement? If not, perhaps we could wait for the Gomery report.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no connection between the Parti Québécois and the dirt and filth characteristic of this government. The Parti Québécois has created a trust in which the questionable money is kept.

What we are asking of the government is to stop playing the hypocrite, open a trust account and put in it the Liberal Party's dirty money, which was used to steal the election. Let it put the money in a trust.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again there are allegations that the Parti Québécois in fact received money inappropriately. Those same allegations said that the government of the Parti Québécois in fact was influenced by those inappropriate contributions. We know that the separatist cousins on the provincial level campaigned with those members on a federal level during elections. They worked together.

So before they sully the reputation of this House, they should look at their own house for a few minutes. They should actually get their own house in order and have the courage that the Prime Minister has had to establish the Gomery commission to get to the bottom of this issue for Canadians.

JusticeOral Question Period

May 5th, 2005 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not believable on the court appointment process. He promised significant reform and he has broken that promise. Now, even his own party officials involved in the process are admitting that there was inappropriate political interference in the judicial appointments process in Quebec.

How can Canadians believe that the Prime Minister will do anything to clean up this corruption when he refuses to take these admissions of his own people seriously? Why does he refuse to do anything?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there are independent judicial advisory committees in each province. A majority of the representatives on those committees come from the Canadian Bar Association, provincial bar associations, provincial attorneys general and the like. Indeed, the hon. member himself was involved in those same processes in his province. Does he want us to go ahead and say that all the people in his province from all these institutions are corrupt?

What kind of drive-by smears are we going to continue to endure with regard to all these institutions in the country, in particular the independence of the judiciary?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the request is not a complex one. There are admissions of senior Liberal officials involved in the panel that there was this corruption and the government will not take any steps to take a look into that. That is all I am asking. That is all that Canadians are asking.

Why will the government not look into these very serious admissions of corruption?

JusticeOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there seems to be no limit to the opposition's willingness to impugn every single institution that is represented on these committees in face of allegations that remain unproven. We have representatives from every single venerable institution in the country involved in the legal process.

I regard that as a shame that he is prepared to impugn not only the individual integrity of those individuals but all those institutions that he himself used to preside over.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable when he says that nobody but Gomery can tell us who is responsible. Justice Gomery's mandate explicitly states that he may not name those responsible for this terrible scandal. But that did not stop the Prime Minister from repeating on television that he wants to keep Canadians waiting until Justice Gomery's report has been tabled.

The Prime Minister is putting limits on Justice Gomery's mandate in order to protect his Liberal friends. How can we still believe what the Prime Minister says?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of Justice Gomery is clear. He is in fact investigating and reporting on questions raised in chapters three and four of the Auditor General's report. That is the first part of his mandate. The second part of his mandate is to provide prescriptives to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Beyond that, there are criminal charges against several individuals, including Mr. Guité and Mr. Brault, their favourite witnesses over there. Further to that there is a civil action to recover $41 million of funding.

We understand the legal system. I do not know why that lawyer has forgotten so much of it in such a short period of time. We are getting to the bottom of this issue and we are supporting the work of Justice Gomery.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are criminal charges against everybody except those who directed the operation. Canadians know that the Prime Minister is not believable in supporting the Gomery commission. Last spring the Prime Minister ordered the shutdown of the public accounts committee and called a quick election because he knew that Jean Brault was going to testify and spill the beans.

Liberals are already in court trying to shut down the Gomery commission right now and discredit the justice, so when the Prime Minister declares his support for Gomery, will he just admit that he is not telling Canadians the truth?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again what the hon. member is saying is false. The fact is that the work of the public accounts committee was going quite well until the chairman decided to go to Mexico. Beyond that, it is absolutely clear that the Prime Minister, who established Justice Gomery, and the Prime Minister, who continues to support Justice Gomery and who provided full access to cabinet documents and other documents going back to 1994 and provided $72 million worth of resources to Justice Gomery, wants to get to the truth as do Canadians.

It is interesting that only recently they started attacking Justice Gomery's mandate because they fear that Justice Gomery's report will show that the Prime Minister acted honourably.

Commercial BankruptciesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Russ Powers Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to change the focus on the questioning today.

The current process for workers to recover lost wages from their bankrupt employers is both lengthy and unreliable. Many workers do not get close to what they are owed in the aftermath of employer bankruptcy. This impacts all workers, but especially the most vulnerable, those who live from paycheque to paycheque.

Could the Minister of Labour and Housing please advise the House if the government is proposing to address this issue?

Commercial BankruptciesOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Joe Fontana LiberalMinister of Labour and Housing

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member, the caucus and the government for caring about the vulnerable workers, men and women across this country. It gives me pride today to be able to announce that we will introduce a wage earner protection program that will help people who have lost their jobs through bankruptcy get all of the money that is due to them, unlike the Conservatives who, I just heard a half hour ago, would introduce a payroll tax to help those people recover their wages. That is absolutely shameful.

On this side of the House we believe in protecting men and women who work hard each and every day. We have listened to them. Labour leaders want this and we will deliver today.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour should remember that it was a proposal of the NDP that he just talked about.

I come from a riding where it is very hard to find work, from a riding where the people are loyal and want to keep their work. The Liberal government slashed EI in the 1990s after it promised that it would not do that. Before each election, in 1997, in 2000 and in 2004 the Liberals promised they would fix it and they did not fix it.

My question for the minister is, will they keep their promise and fix the EI problem for the workers?